A bill that several Alabama lawmakers, including House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter, introduced in January passed the Alabama House committee on Wednesday.
The bill, also known as "Emily's Law," would provide harsher punishments for owners of dangerous animals who attack people.
The bill was named after 24-year-old Jackson County woman, Emily Colvin, who was attacked and killed by dogs in her front yard in December.
According to the bill, if a dog has been declared dangerous by a court, and seriously injures or kills a person, the owner of the dog could be charged with a Class B felony, which is punishable by two to 20 years.
If a dog has not been declared dangerous, but the owner knew about and disregarded their animal's dangerous tendencies, the owner could be charged with a Class C felony, which is punishable by one to ten years.
If the court determines that a dog is dangerous and has caused serious physical injury or death to a person, the dog would be humanely euthanized by a licensed veterinarian or an authorized animal control official.
In addition to any fines imposed by the court, the dog owner would pay all expenses, including, but not limited to, shelter, food, veterinary expenses for boarding, and veterinary expenses necessitated by impoundment of the dog, medical expenses incurred by a victim from an attack by the dog, and other expenses required for the destruction of the dog.
If the owner fails to provide a proper enclosure for the dangerous dog or fails to provide a certification of dangerous dog registration to the court within 30 days of the issuance of the court's declaration that the dog is dangerous, the dog shall be humanely euthanized.